The Architecture of Liminal Spaces

Liminal spaces are everywhere, both literally, and as a popular topic of intrigue on Reddit and other image-sharing platforms. Posting photographs of empty dilapidated spaces followed by collective reminiscing of childhood experiences is proving to be a popular activity these days. At one time or another, the spaces depicted in these eerie photos seemed like a good idea, a useful solution to a problem of providing shelter for crowds in the act of movement or commerce. Architecture had specific terms for these spaces too and defined them through theories that explained their role in our culture. In this video, architectural professor Stewart Hicks presents how architects think about liminal spaces, what goes into them, why they exist, and why some architects and artists still work to produce their effect.

Architecture with Stewart is a YouTube journey exploring architecture’s deep and enduring stories in all their bewildering glory. Weekly videos and occasional live events breakdown a wide range of topics related to the built environment in order to increase their general understanding and advocate their importance in shaping the world we inhabit.

Stewart Hicks is an architectural design educator that leads design studios and lecture courses as an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also serves as an Associate Dean in the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts and is the co-founder of the practice Design With Company. His work has earned awards such as the Architecture Record Design Vanguard Award or the Young Architect’s Forum Award and has been featured in exhibitions such as the Chicago Architecture Biennial and Design Miami, as well as at the V&A Museum and Tate Modern in London. His writings can be found in the co-authored book Misguided Tactics for Propriety Calibration, published with the Graham Foundation, as well as essays in MONU magazine, the AIA Journal Manifest, Log, bracket, and the guest-edited issue of MAS Context on the topic of character architecture.